Chasing Down the Muse: Enriched by a fund

On this wintry day, goats grazed on the hillside while clouds drifted overhead. I had plenty to do but was drawn to the edge of the sea at Crescent Bay just to peruse and be in the moment. The sea lions were silent where they sat on the rocks, and the only sounds breaking the silence were the slow slap of surf against the shore and the occasional human or avian noise. A couple of SUPers shouted out to each other, as did gulls and crows above us.

On a sweet, peaceful Sunday morning, I found my thoughts drifting back over the day just before. It had been a culmination of sorts and a day of giving.

Janet Jarrett of Mission Viejo Girl Scout Troop No. 812 had contacted me several weeks back. The girls were coming to spend the night at our local Laguna Beach Girl Scout House on Friday. Then, Saturday, they would be spending the day at the Sawdust Art Festival's Winter Fantasy.

Last year when they did this, the girls had spent some time doing ceramics. But now they were mostly 13-year-old girls, and some of them were looking beyond that. Janet was looking for something that would engage them as that had, and then some.

We talked of some of the options for our adult Sawdust Studio Art Classes program and agreed that the girls would love the fused-glass option. I thought we could possibly adapt it to their level of interest and skill. Telling her I would get back to her soon, I went to work.

The questions kept coming — how could this be made more simple? How could we fund it so that the girls paid just a minimal fee? What could they make? Who could teach it? Where?

A year or so ago, the inimitable John Eagle had seeded a fund to be called the Sawdust Art Enrichment Fund. Artist/instructors could apply for funds to further the festival's mission of educating the public and promoting the art of Laguna Beach. The fund now has four trustees who manage it.

Why not ask? So we did. Working closely with the trustees and SSAC's own instructor, fused-glass artist Maggie Spencer, we put together a proposal I thought the girls might like. This was to be the first incidence of funding under this great new program. We hoped it would be grand.

In a word, wow! It all came together. Patty Slowsky-Enfield taught the girls (and a few of their moms) to make colorful, fused-glass ornaments for the holidays. The energy in the Healy House was phenomenal, and Patty patiently helped each girl with her individual project. The girls were very creative and trying all sorts of wild designs.

What a fun day! What a gift the giving was! Many of the girls made their pieces as special gifts for others as well, so the gifts just keep giving.

Sunday may be have been peaceful as I watched the calm sea, but the gifts of the day before stayed with me and energized me as I turned to continue my walk.

To learn more about the Sawdust Art Enrichment Fund and how you can help, contact trustees Susan Wade at (949) 494-3421 or, or Spencer at (714) 264-5617 or

CHERRIL DOTY is an artist, writer and director of the Sawdust Studio Art Classes in Laguna Beach. Always fascinated, inspired, and titillated by the beauty and the ever-changing mysteries of life, she can be reached at or by phone at 714/745.9973.

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